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Blues rout Sharks behind Oshie's hat trick

by Eric Gilmore /

SAN JOSE -- It's safe to say that T.J. Oshie's scoring slump is over.

After scoring five goals in his first 28 games, the St. Louis Blues forward has five goals in his past three games, including three in a 7-2 rout of the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Saturday.

Oshie's second career hat trick highlighted the Blues' highest-scoring game of the season in a victory that ended their five-game road losing streak and avenged a 3-2 overtime loss at San Jose on Dec. 20.

"It seems like instead of post and out or off a skate they're making their way into the net now," Oshie said. "Glad I stuck with it and glad that my linemates are going really well. When all three of us are working it really makes the game a lot less stressful and easier."

Alexander Steen , Kevin Shattenkirk,Jaden Schwartz andDmitrij Jaskin each scored a goal for the Blues (23-13-3), and goaltender Brian Elliott made 18 saves. Steen and Shattenkirk each had three assists and four points. Oshie, who assisted on Steen's goal, also had a four-point game.

Oshie's first NHL hat trick came against the Minnesota Wild on March 27, 2014. The multiple-goal game against the Sharks was Oshie's first of the season, the eighth of his career and his first on the road. Oshie extended his goal-scoring streak to three games and point streak to five. Oshie has eight points in the Blues' past three games, but he shared the credit with his linemates, Steen and center David Backes.

"The Backes line is really leading the charge again, just like it did all last year," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It looked like they're really back on task again and really starting to lead us."

Oshie gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 11:49 of the first period, scored the game-winner at 5:32 of the second, putting St. Louis ahead 3-2, and completed his hat trick at 9:16 of the third when his power-play goal made it 7-2. Oshie fired a sharp-angled shot from the left circle that goaltender Alex Stalock blocked with his stick, but the puck ricocheted off Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and into the net.

"He's been playing probably his best hockey the past six or seven games despite the fact that we haven't been as successful," Shattenkirk said. "He's been playing great. He's doing the right things. He's going into the hard areas. He has such a knack for finding the puck out of those scrums and around the net. That's where you see a lot of his goals come from."

Joe Pavelski and Melker Karlsson scored for San Jose (20-14-5). Antti Niemi gave up six goals on 27 shots and was pulled for Stalock at 4:58 of the third period with St. Louis leading 6-2.

The Sharks played without injured center Joe Thornton, whose streak of consecutive games ended at 319. Thornton sustained an upper-body injury in the first period Wednesday against theAnaheim Ducks when he took a hard hit to his left shoulder from Clayton Stoner.

Thornton missed a game for the first time since Nov. 9, 2010, also against Anaheim, when he served the second game of a two-game suspension for a hit on former Blues forward David Perron.

"On a night when we needed everybody to elevate their game because of the opponent and the loss of a key player, we did the exact opposite," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "To a man we weren't ready mentally or physically to play the first 17 minutes or so. I don't know why. They were harder, quicker and more determined. At every position they were stronger."

The Blues were coming off a 4-3 loss Friday at Honda Center against Anaheim, but they opened the game with plenty of energy, taking 15 of the game's first 17 shots.

"Right from the first shift we were never in that game," Sharks center Logan Couture said. "It's very disappointing, especially in our home building. Our power play was bad, and I don't know why, even without (Thornton). We were all over the map. It's pretty frustrating. If you can't win missing one player you're not going to go too far. We didn't play at an NHL level. We didn't even compete."

San Jose went 0-for-6 on the power play.

Oshie gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead on the Blues' 15th shot, burying a rebound from close range.

The Sharks pulled even at 17:42 when Karlsson knocked a rebound past Elliott for his second career goal. Pavelski put the Sharks ahead 40 seconds later with his 20th goal of the season in his 600th NHL game; he lifted a sharp-angled shot from the right circle over Elliott's shoulder and into the net.

The Sharks' lead lasted less than a minute. Steen ripped a shot from the left circle past Niemi to the far side for his 10th goal of the season at 19:16, sending the teams to the dressing room even at 2-2.

St. Louis took command in the second period on goals by Oshie and Shattenkirk.

Oshie put the Blues ahead to stay at 5:32 when he scored his 100th NHL goal. He carried the puck past San Jose'sTye McGinn, cut inside and flipped a shot from left circle between defensemanMatt Tennyson and Scott Hannan and past Niemi.

"I was out there for a while. I was getting pretty tired," Oshie said. "I was trying to move the puck wide and get off the ice. I wasn't going to continue on into the zone and turned it over a little bit. Then I grabbed it and ended up kind of making my way toward the center of the ice and threw it on net and she found it."

Shattenkirk made it 4-2 by scoring with 8.6 seconds left in the period. Schwartz, who returned to the lineup after missing seven games with an injured foot, won a battle for the puck behind San Jose's net and sent a pass in front to Shattenkirk, who banked a shot off Niemi's glove and inside the right post.

"It was just a battle in the corner," Schwartz said. "The puck popped loose. I knew there wasn't much time left in the (period). I just had a feeling our defenseman was kind of sneaking down. I didn't see him, but I had a feeling someone was there. I just fired it there."

Schwartz scored a power-play goal at 1:17 of the third period, redirecting Steen's long blast past Niemi. Jaskin increased the Blues' lead to 6-2 at 4:58 when he spun and beat Niemi with a shot from above the right circle.

Schwartz skated on the second with center Jori Lehtera and Vladimir Tarasenko. The Blues had seven defensemen and 11 forwards in their lineup. Chris Butler reinforced the blue line, and forwardsMaxim Lapierre and Joakim Lindstrom were scratched.

The Blues ended a four-game losing streak to the Sharks and won for the second time in their past eight games overall.

"We'd been playing pretty well for long stretches the last three or four games," Hitchcock said. "This is the reward we got for doing it. We eliminated some of the big mistakes we'd been making that hurt us badly and then came and managed the game properly as it moved along. Fourth goal was huge. That gave us a little bit of breathing room going into the locker room, and I think it discouraged them a little bit."

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